Kilkenny GAA clubs risk wipe out if they fail to followed the specific requirements of insurance cover this season, writes John Knox.
That was the stark warning from County Board chairman, Ned Quinn, on the night the draws were made for the start of the games programme for the 2014 season.
“One claim could destroy a club,” insisted Mr Quinn when he repeated a previous warning that the GAA at national level wasn’t prepared to accept slackness in terms of injuries and claims.
Clubs had to have all the paper work done, Mr Quinn added, and players and officials had to be exact in following the rules or else they left clubs open to claims that could be crippling.
The biggest immediate change was that hurlers had to wear approved helmets with full face guards and footballers had to use gum shields in order to meet the strict requirement of the GAA insurance cover.
Delegates at Monday’s meeting of the County Board were left in new doubt but that the GAA attitude towards insurance claims had hardened.
It was simple, Mr Quinn said, everything had to be right or else claims would be turned down. And the issue about wearing a helmet at all times, including during a warm up and pre-match puck about, was black and white.
“Mandatory is the word in the rule,” Mr Quinn reminded before adding there would be no compromise.
In the past a minority of players cut a bar or two out of the face guard in order to improve vision. This was a definite “no, no” now.
Young girls playing on hurling teams were also required to wear a helmet. And parents or guardians who had an objections to their child being made wear a helmet would have to sign a disclaimer exonerating clubs and the ’Association from responsibility in the event of an accident or injury.
The helmets approved by the GAA were produced by O’Neill’s, Mycro, Azzurri and Marc. Delegates were told they could be acquired for €30 or €35.